Saturday, February 12, 2005

Miscellanea - Fire Sevan, For a Start Edition

I can't take seriously Kofi Annan's efforts at U.N. reform when we continue to see reports like this - why is Sevan just suspended (with pay, for crying out loud?)...

Speaking of Kofi Annan - the hubris of this man is astonishing - just look at this editorial in the Washington Post. Annan says the divisions of the United Nations re: Iraq give it credibility in the region(!), encourages the international community to help Iraq by rallying around the UN(!!), basically takes credit for the success of the Iraqi elections (!!!), and in the entire editorial, mentions NOT ONE DAMN WORD about the coalition forces that have given their lives to get us to this point(!!!!). Go suck an egg, Kofi (tip of the hat to RealClearPolitics)...

Abbas continues to do alright by me; we've got to make sure he gets the support he needs to keep the ball rolling...

Maureen Dowd has a Valentine's Day column up, and, naturally, finds not one, but two opportunities to take shots at Bush. I'm beginning to think Mo has a crush on George W.; Ahab wasn't this obsessed about Moby Dick...

Suggested Reading (Warning: Non-Political Content Ahead)

This blog is about politics, and I'm a conservative (I know, you would have never guessed it). I'm guessing most of you are here because you, too, care about politics and conservatism. I'm going to get even bolder with my predictions now: I'm willing to bet you care about other things, too. So do I! Small world, isn't it?

One of my other interests is the fascinating intersection of science, mathematics, and philosophy (wait, don't click away yet! - darn, lost half of you already!). The more you find out about these topics, the more they seem to converge (and I'm not going to get into this here, but I find their convergence to be strong evidence of a Higher Being - you know, what us red-state hicks sometimes call 'God'). I'm no specialist in any of the above, so I look for good mass-market books aimed at the general reader. Here's a few that I've found to be very good reads:
  1. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes: One of the great works of nonfiction, this truly remarkable book covers the scientific, military, and economic background of the Manhattan Project, but it also serves as a fascinating primer on the men and ideas that made nuclear energy a reality.
  2. Godel, Escher, & Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter: an early look at articial intelligence research by an advocate, but much more than that - an astonishing tour de force of erudition that is really quite unique.
  3. The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics by Roger Penrose: Penrose, a frequent collaborator of Stephen Hawkings, wrote this partially in response to Godel, Escher, & Bach. He argues that there is a quality of the mind, yet to be fully understood, that makes artificial intelligence impossible on any meaningful level, and further, that only the discovery of the bridge between quantum and classical physics will provide insight into that elusive quality. A tough read at times, but worth the effort.
  4. Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, by David Foster Wallace: at times muddled, in typical Wallace style, with footnotes everywhere, this short book is nevertheless loads of fun and never boring.
  5. A Tour of the Calculus, by David Berlinski: the very mention of 'calculus' is enough to make most people's eyes glaze over, but Berlinski is a heckuva writer, and he stays focused on the revolutionary nature of the calculus: without it, we'd have no real way to understand the concept of continuity and curves.
That's enough for now; I don't want to try your patience. If you find yourself bored on a rainy day, you could do a lot worse than picking up one of these.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog...

Democratic Party to Jesusland: 'We Don't Need Your Stinking Votes'

It was a done deal before today, but it's still remarkable: The Democrats have chosen Howard Dean to be their leader. I would like to associate myself completely with the remarks of Newt Gingrinch: "I think if (Democrats) have a true death wish, he'd be the perfect guy to go with." Dean is a symbol of everything the voters just recently solidly rejected: an anti-war Northeastern liberal, quick to anger, who resorts frequently to conspiracy theories and hyperbole and used the touching tale of a bike path to show the depth of his faith.

This is good news indeed for the Republicans, akin to giving us a nice head start on all upcoming elections. How do I know this is the same Howard Dean that, along his supporters, scared the hell out of normal, decent folks in Iowa? He said the magic word:
"...there is something that this administration and the Republican Party are very afraid of -- it is that we may actually begin fighting for what we believe: fiscally responsible, socially progressive values for which Democrats have always stood and fought."
'Progressive' - the very word has come to conjure up images of smelly, foul-mouthed trust fund babies engaging in rampant vandalism in the streets of Seattle, Paris, and anywhere else that responsible adults might choose to meet to discuss important issues such as trade and security.

In truth, the Democratic Party has reached the point of no return: the 'progressive' infestation has wormed its way into every crevice of the once-grand institution. If the Democrats are really interested in a return to power, here' s some free advice. Jettison the Michael Moores, Howard Deans, Barbra Streisands, and the like; let them rename the Democratic Party with what is has become: "The Progressive Party". The rest of you, the ones with sense, the ones that still love America, the ones that don't believe that abortion on demand is the most sacrosanct right of all, why not ditch that donkey and come ride the elephant for a while? We've got a big enough tent for you, and think how good it will feel to win some elections for a change...

Free Speech, Controversy, and Poor Decisions

The sorry saga of Ward Churchill continues, even as the flames of Easongate die down. Nancy Rabinowitz, director of the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture at Hamilton College, has resigned under fire for inviting the controversial Churchill to speak (hat tip to Myopic Zeal).

Most of the blogging community has adopted the position that Mr. Churchill is incredibly offensive, but his disparaging comments should not be cause for his termination. Jim Spencer of the Denver Post agrees with that...but there's more to it than that (it should be noted in passing that both Churchill and Rabinowitz have prior histories of moronic decisions to suggest that these lapses weren't hasty mistakes).

This post in Power Line touches on one issue of interest: can a person be fired for stupidity? Manifestly, the answer is yes: When Eisner fired Ovitz from Disney, or when Carly Fiorina is forced out at HP, isn't this an implicit statement by the investors, directors, and executives that poor judgment has been exercised? Could anyone not blinded by ideological blinders fail to see that the same applies to Rabinowitz?

The only thing that makes Churchill any different is that his poor judgment was the action of 'speech' (generally agreed upon to include writings, of course). I'm not interested in trotting out the old "Fire" in a crowded theater argument, but I would like to make this distinction. Any academic institution (any institution at all, really) worth its salt should always allow for a good measure of controversy. When physicists talk of string theory and its 'extra' dimensions, that is surely controversial - but there is a good body of evidence and theory to back it up. When Lawrence Summers talks about gender differences in career choices, that's definitely controversial (and he shouldn't have backed down), but again, he was hypothesizing in an academic context.

I could go on and on with the examples, but the point is clear. However, when Ward Churchill refers to the victims of 9/11 as "little Eichmanns" and expresses a wish for even more of these tragedies, that's not academic controversy, that's opinion, and inflammatory opinion, at that. Still, I guess I reluctantly side with those who say he shouldn't be fired. I don't see any reason why the good people and students in Colorado shouldn't continue to protest this pathetic wretch's venom through that same protected speech that we grant him. Maybe he'll have the good sense to resign, too. As for the people who hired this buffoon - well, that's the kind of poor judgment that gets people fired every single day.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Lesson of Easongate: The Rules Have Changed

It probably began with Trent Lott; it picked up steam with Rathergate; now the Eason Jordan saga has moved it beyond the realm of the disputable. "It" is the power of blogs to influence events on a national and international scale. The idea that blogs can force a new level of accountability on those previously considered 'untouchable' is not new; many have commented eloquently and at length. I find Easongate unique in one revolutionary respect: this time, the MSM never even got off the sidelines.

When Dan Rather's document hoax broke, as in the Trent Lott remarks, the event did stay in the blogosphere for a time, but it was only when the public and media at large grew aware that action was taken. With Easongate, only the faintest of ripples had hit the mainstream; a handful of stories, yes, but certainly no national awareness to speak of outside of the blogging and media communities. CNN still doesn't have the story on their front page as I write this, nor does MSNBC. The New York Times does, in a sidebar; but what did you hear from the Times prior to today?

No, this one is different. This time it was the bloggers, and the bloggers alone, that pushed this man out. That will be heady stuff for some; it will scare the pants off of others...but what does it mean, really? Have we entered an era where our lives can be destroyed by a pack of wolves hacking at their keyboards with no oversight, no editors, and no accountability? Or does it mean that we've entered a brave new world where the MSM has become irrelevant?

I would argue that neither of those extremes is the case. What has been shown, though, is that the mass media, mainstream media, MSM, whatever you want to call it, is being held to account as never before by the strong force of individual citizens who won't settle for sloppy research and inflammatory comments without foundation, particularly from those with a wide national reach, such as Rather and Eason. If you are going to slander our troops or our president, you better have the goods...and I don't think that will just apply to liberal voices. Eason Jordan says he is quitting to avoid being 'unfairly tarnished' by the controversy, but it was precisely because he himself unfairly tarnished our fighting men and women, in a very public setting, that he no longer counts himself among the employed.

I don't think we need to wring our hands over this, nor celebrate too loudly, though on the whole, it is a good, democratic development. Nor do I believe that the same results would take place if the controversy doesn't have merit; after all, the 'progressive' side of the blogosphere would have you believe that George Bush is a cocaine-snorting fascist who has stolen two elections, but because the public at large (i.e., 'Jesusland') knows these accusations are without merit, you haven't seen the snowball effect that Rathergate and Easongate displayed. Much will be said and written on these topics over the next few days; for now, it will suffice to say that this is a significant day in the short history of blogs.

UPDATE 10:59 pm central: Very much to my delight, some blogging heavyweights have been gracious enough to link to this post - so a big thank you to Michelle Malkin, Ed Driscoll, Jim Geraghty, and Jeff Jarvis, and a big welcome to any new readers, as well. I hope you'll sit back, relax, and stay awhile. Have a great weekend, everyone!

UPDATE 2 02/12/05 11:02 am central: Wow, now Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit has been kind enough to reference this post, as well; many thanks! To any and all newcomers, browse around, leave some comments, whatever floats your boat - good to have you here. Hope you're having an agreeable Saturday.

Eason Jordan Has Resigned

Details here...more to come!...

More North Korea Saber Rattling

North Korea has followed its admission of a nuclear arsenal with a demand for two-party talks with the United States. Alert readers may recall this is exactly the position adopted by the Kerry campaign. It was a bad idea then, and remains so now. (It's also a spectacular display of the hypocrisy of the 'progressives', who espouse multilateralism, except in areas where the Bush administration engages in it - then the unilateral approach is suddenly the way to go).

The North Koreans are in no position to demand anything of the U.S., and for once, international opinion is on our side. Widespread condemnation greeted yesterday's announcement, and North Korea, already an isolated totalitarian relic, only stands to become more of a pariah. We won't be blackmailed into such a concession under this administration, I feel certain. The six-party talks are essential as they involve those most affected by North Korea's bellicosity in seeking a solution.

The United Nations is urging North Korea to return to the talks. If the UN wishes to maintain its relevance and get some good press for a change, this issue is the perfect opportunity. If this is not a matter for the Security Council to deal with, and promptly, then there is no reason to continue its existence. Nuclear blackmail simply cannot be tolerated.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Unilateralism Is No Vice

Today, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced he was marrying his long-time lover...oh, wait, that's not right. Today Tony Blair gave support to Kofi Annan and his plan for reforming the UN, including the expansion of the Security Council to 24 members. I can't for the life of me see why the United States would allow this to happen without permanently withdrawing. I can see myriad reasons for nations that oppose U.S. interests to think this is just a smashing idea.

The expansion of the Security Council fits in quite well with the Eurocentric worldview of the UN. The whole idea of world government is a utopian pipe dream, but still the overpaid diplomatic corp puts on the show, pretending that, for example, it is Brussels rather than Paris and Berlin that calls the shots in the Euro zone, and that it only takes a decree from the UN to define the acceptable parameters of warfare and humanitarian interventions. Unfortunately, of all possible worlds, we live in this one, and the real world will never allow for a group of many nations, all with their own objectives and desires, to agree on any significant course of action.

When you add in the fact that most international bodies see their primary raison d'etre as acting as a counterbalance to US dominance, America has even less reason to go along with such a transparent 'reform'. The only material consequence of expanding Security Council membership would be even more obstacles to the US and its allies in pursuing their agenda (you know, that evil business of trying to spread liberty).

The whole trouble with the world government movement can be nicely summed up through a story in the January 21, 2005 print edition of the Wall Street Journal (EU Leader Confronts Schroder, by G. Thomas Sims). The article concerns a dispute that has arisen in the EU over permissible budget deficits. The EU member states signed a Stability and Growth pact in the 1990s to make the Euro a more attractive currency for conducting international trade. The idea was that the move to a single currency required a single fiscal policy for the currency to have any credibility. A part of that policy is that budget deficits are limited to 3% of GDP for each member state.

All very boring, I know - but here's the point. The policy is a joke. 11 of the 25 current EU states are in violation of the pact, including France and Germany (the two combining for the lion's share of the EU's population and trade). The European Commission has been unable or unwilling to enforce the provision. Chancellor Schroder of Germany is locking horns with the current president of the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker. After a contentious meeting between the two, Juncker had this to say: "[Schroder] is not in charge of the European economy. He's not a head of state. He's the head of a government."

He's not a head of state. He's the head of a government. This remark is directed at the powerhouse of the EU in population and economic might. Can you imagine in your wildest dreams the President of the United States being spoken of in such a manner? Can you imagine the US giving up its sovereignty in fiscal matters? Impossible, yet this is the dream of the world government crowd - a neutered group of nations, endlessly haggling over 'rules' the other nations must follow, that none follow themselves, at God knows what enormous expense. This is also a preview of the sort of debate we could expect from an expanded Security Council.

I say to you with an honest heart: unilateralism is no vice.

Miscellanea - Time to Throw Away the Key Edition

The Big Trunk and Hindrocket at Power Line have some comments on Lynne Stewart, the left-wing activist convicted today of helping terrorists...

Stephen Green joins me in expressing cautious optimism re: Mahmoud Abbas...

Daniel Pipes, however, is less impressed (hat tip to Tim Blair)...

I've come to expect Bush=Hitler equations from the Radical Left - but from a high-school kid's school project? And he gets an "A"?...

Captain Ed knows the way to get to the bottom of Easongate (and you and I do, too) - quit stonewalling and release the tape!...

Truth Laid Bear has the stats on the Easongate blog coverage - 438 blogs can't be wrong (well, they can, but it sounded good, didn't it?)...

Worry on My Troubled Mind

North Korea is a real problem, no doubt. The belligerence of this rogue state is the best of all possible arguments for deposing Saddam and preventing Iran from preceding with its own nuclear weapons program. One of the rare points of agreement between both the Kerry and Bush camps in 2004 was that our biggest concern is nuclear proliferation.

I don't have any solutions. Diplomacy is our only option - with Iran, because our military is stretched too thin for action on the ground; for North Korea, precisely because it does have the bomb. (A most devilish cycle - we can't let any more outlaws get the bomb, but every outlaw wants it because it makes it so difficult to deal with them).

It's worth noting, though, that many democracies have the bomb, and no one is worried about, say, England, going on a nuclear bender. This makes the pro-liberty foreign policy push of the Bush administration more crucial than ever; if nuclear weapons must exist, and exist they do, then let us at least have them in the hands of democracies. No wonder every president leaves office with gray hair and a thousand wrinkles.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Miscellanea - Uh, Hitch, What's Up? Edition

The mighty Christopher Hitchens has taken a look at Ohio in Election '04 and - he smells a rat. Damn - now I might have to spend money on Vanity Fair again...

UPDATE 11:19 p.m. central: Speaking of Hitchens, you simply must read Michael Totten's account of his night out with the Hitch (hat tip to RealClearPolitics)...

Mickey Kaus has been just slamming Howard Kurtz over Easongate...

Speaking of Easongate, this roundup by Jay Rosen is Chrenkoffesque in its thoroughness...

Dick Morris on Condi Rice as the Hillary slayer - hey, Dick, been there, done that (tip of the hat to James Joyner)...

Geoff Smock, a self-described Young Conservative, has a post up on Rudy G.'s 2008 prospects (for the record, I've been saving up Rudy, McCain, Hillary, and some other big dogs, but I'll profile all of them sooner or later). I agree with his conclusions about the heroic former NYC mayor; disagreements over specific issues in a platform should never disqualify a Republican - we'll leave the litmus tests to the Democrats...

There's no way to sugarcoat it - this guy is a moron (I'm sure you can think of some other choice epithets) (hat tip to Commonwealth Conservative)...

JFK the Sequel - Part Three: Act One, Scene One

A helicopter shot tracks a lonesome stretch of road through the countryside; we see an opulent mansion, and zoom in lower and tighter. A limousine is pulling up. A servant opens the door, and out steps Johnnie Cochran, who climbs the mansion stairs and greets the butler with a jovial slap on the back.

"Mr. Cochran, so good to see you - Mr. Zuniga has been waiting."

Cochran looks at the masterful paintings lining the walls - there are original Picassos, Rembrandts, an autographed photo of Susan Sontag - and lets out a whistle. Suddenly, a door at the end of the foyer opens, and out steps Markos 'The Daily Kos' Zuniga. He rushes to Cochran and they embrace.

"Kos, my man, this is some spread. Shillin' for Dean must really pay well."

Markos stares at Cochran as if insulted, then breaks up laughing. "Let's just say Howard remembers his friends. All that campaign cash had to go SOMEWHERE. Come in, sit, have a cocktail."

They enter the door into a study, sit down, and the butler rolls out a keg of Lucky Lager. He works the pump vigorously, then pours a foamy cup for each of these two intellectual titans.

"Ahhhh...that's good brew. I called you, Johnnie, because we have an opportunity; an opportunity to undo a great unjustice; an opportunity to make this world a better place; an opportunity to THROW OFF THE SHACKLES OF THIS POLICE STATE ONCE AND FOR ALL!" Zuniga crashes his fist down on his knee, then winces, in obvious pain.

"I'm with you, Kos, you know I'd do anything to get out of this hell of wealth and privilege...but what can I do?"

"Johnnie, I know you've been keeping up with the work of our pal Alterman. Eric's found the Holy Grail, so to speak, in a secular sense of the word, of course. This long lost document has revealed the 'original' Eleventh Amendment, what would have been the crowning touch to the Bill of Rights - 'A reality-based community being the ideal to strive for, no vote shall be counted that is cast by any religious nut-job or Jesus freak'. Johnnie, this is it; we'll get that fascist Bush and his neocon (not that there's anything wrong with that - some of my best friends are neocons) brownshirts out of the White House and into Gitmo where they belong!" A large gob of spit flies out of Zuniga's mouth as he finishes his rant.

A lightbulb goes off over Cochran's head (literally - Zuniga has forgotten to pay the electric bill). As Cochran's eyes adjust to the darkness, he says: "And you want me to argue that this makes the 2004 election null and void!!! Brilliant..."

"Oh, but there's more, see our operative Gavin Newsom has just ruled that the Massachusetts Supreme Court trumps all other jurisdictional authorities! Rehnquist is too weak to fight us - they arm wrestled over it and Newsom beat him decisively. We've practically won already."

"Let me see that ruling..." Cochran compares the newer document to the lost fragment of the Constitution. "You know, these look like they came off the same printer - and this Constitution fragment is proportionally spaced! In Times New Roman font! And look at the watermark - it says 'Kinko's'!"

"No worries, Johnnie - I sent the document to Dan Rather, and his experts took a good look at it - it's authentic, all right...but I gotta know, Johnnie, are you with me, old friend?"

"Kos, wild horses couldn't keep me out of that courtroom - not even a crazed ex-football player with a knife could stop me!"

The Kos and Cochran sit in the dark, thinking, dreaming, as the butler once again works the pump on the keg...


JFK the Sequel - Cast and Crew
JFK the Sequel - Part Two: Prologue and Opening Credits

Miscellanea - Eason Jordan Was Right Edition

Journalists are being targeted in Iraq - Eason just has a hard time telling the good guys from the bad guys...

Condoleezza Rice is talking tough on Iran, so you know it won't be long until the 'progressives' get hysterical...

Congratulations to Pejman Yousefzadeh on his third anniversary of blogging. I hope to join him in about two and a half years...

Another gay witchhunt from the 'progressives' - I hate to say I told you so, but...

Wictory Wednesday: Help Santorum

This week, Wictory Wednesday is again focused on helping Rick Santorum keep his seat. You can read the details here. As always, I ask for your help, if you're willing and able, and I remind you to check out a couple of random links from the blogroll at bottom right. Onward and upward!

Weekly Jackass Number Ten - Eason Jordan

I try not to be too tied in to the 'moment' when I confer the Weekly Jackass honor - I'd like people a few years from now to be able to see what the fuss was. When I DO recognize a person who is currently in the news, that person must have a history of boneheadedness behind him. If you're not that into blogs or the media, you may not know the name Eason Jordan. You will, though - he's in a world of hurt right now that isn't going to let up anytime soon.

So who is this week's honoree? Eason Jordan is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief News Executive at CNN. He's in very hot water because of an outrageous allegation he made recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Rony Abovitz reported:

During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others.

Let's be clear, because this is important. The Chief News Executive at CNN, the most globally recognized news organization, asserted that US troops in Iraq killed journalists, not as unfortunate collateral damage, but rather in cold blood, deliberately. That's an extremely inflammatory allegation; if you're going to go around throwing that kind of talk around, you better damn well back it up.

The blogosphere flew into action. Among the higher traffic sites that have kept the heat on are TKS (part of the National Review's website), Captain's Quarters, the Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Power Line, Hugh Hewitt, and others too numerous to mention. To the surprise of precisely no one, the MSM didn't touch the story until it was too hot to ignore, with first Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post joining in, and now Investor's Business Daily, in an editorial calling for Jordan's dismissal (hat tip to Captain Ed), and the New York Sun.

Let's step back a little and look at the mitigating factors. Jordan backtracked from the statement, and many who heard it and were shocked say he deserves the benefit of the doubt. There's a history here, though, that suggests that Jordan's statement was more of a deeply held belief than a slip of the tongue.

In 2003, after the fall of Saddam, Jordan admitted that CNN had sat on its knowledge of the horrors of his regime so that it could continue to keep correspondents in Baghdad. In November, 2004, Jordan said that he knew of journalists who had been tortured by U.S. troops. It's very difficult to believe, as Jordan now asserts, that he was merely saying that some journalists have been targeted as individuals, not necessarily as journalists.

I have many problems with this whole episode - first, the arrogance (on display many times before) that the media show when they harp on the journalists killed in Iraq. Michael Kelly was a fine journalist who was killed in the invasion; he knew the risks of being in a war zone, and he, like all the journalists covering Iraq, went voluntarily. There have been thousands of deaths in Iraq - each is tragic in its own way. Do not the terrorists deliberately target civilians, as individuals, regardless of their age, sex, nationality, occupation, etc.? Does Jordan put the lives of his employees above the lives of the coalition troops that have given their all in the name of freedom?

The larger problem the Davos comments reveal is, again, one of bias. That Jordan is even capable of uttering the words that he did at Davos, regardless of his subsequent backpedaling, reveals a profound distrust of the U.S. military that borders on outright antagonism. Had Jordan made the remarks in isolation, then immediately withdrew them by saying he mispoke, perhaps all could be forgotten. That's not what happened, as we are assured by many prominent witnesses. Jordan made the same remarks repeatedly, and only issued his 'clarifications' after the firestorm hit.

Eason Jordan deserves more than this Weekly Jackass honor - he deserves a pink slip, and my money says he gets one.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Miscellanea - Feminism in the Clinton Era Edition

Another great post by Ann Althouse re: feminism. Althouse notes the transient support of a Democratic Party that goes nuts over Clarence Thomas, but lets Bill Clinton slide. Ann says that's because feminism was used by the Democrats as a means to an end, the end being the power of the party. When it ceased being useful to that end, it went overboard (I made a similar argument about the fleeting nature of the Democrats' loyalty to the gay community). For extra credit, read "No One Left to Lie To" by the great Christopher Hitchens, and find out about all the other groups to have been discarded by the Clintonistas once they outlived their utility...

Easongate, it's inevitably called, and it's got its own blog now (hat tip to Chrenkoff)...

If you're like me, your single biggest regret in life is that you didn't take the time to compose more essays on political theory in your undergraduate years. Mercifully, Daniel Drezner allows us all to recapture those days in all their glory...

Professor Bainbridge asks "Will the Pope Resign?", and he's kind enough to answer (I agree with his conclusion)...

Two bloggers with a history of great posts behind them (and in front of them, let's hope) have said kind words about yours truly in the last couple of days, so a big thank you to Erick Erickson at Confessions of a Political Junkie and J.A. Gillmartin at the SHEEP'S CRIB. Check them out on a regular basis; I do, and look how well-adjusted I am (note to my ex-girlfriends - no comments necessary). Also a shout out to Nettie at Random Thoughts on Life, she was an early supporter and a frequent commenter, and she's got a new template, to boot (oh, and Nettie, my beagle's name is Starla). Don't forget (as if you could!) Wednesday is Weekly Jackass day! Who, oh, who will it be this week? Stay tuned...

Miscellanea - Those Darn Republican Imperialists Edition

Let's see, elections in Iraq, repairing relations with our European allies, a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians - it's a darn shame that George W. Bush is such a warmonger...

No video of Eason Jordan's remarks at the Davos conference will be released (the word for today, Timmy, is cover-up)...

Also on the Eason Jordan front, the Instapundit has a post on the first mention of the scandal by the MSM...

The latest Maureen Dowd column is up, and in typical Dowd fashion, it stinks - unfunny, strident, unfocused, just plain awful. Why doesn't Dowd retire instead of Safire? Is there no justice?...

Monday, February 07, 2005

JFK the Sequel - Part Two: Prologue and Opening Credits

JFK the Sequel


The scene opens with a close-up of the lit end of a cigar; the camera pulls back to reveal the cigar belongs to George W. Bush. He is sitting in the Oval Office with Karl Rove, who begins to laugh with the controlled hilarity of the maniacal. Bush joins in the laughter; the camera pulls back further to reveal a large mound of cocaine on the President�s desk. Rove stops laughing long enough to pick up a copy of the Constitution off of the desk; he then proceeds to roll it into a tiny straw and bends over the cocaine. We zoom in slowly to a large close-up of Rove�s nostril, then fade to black as we:

CUE MUSIC � Bruce Springsteen�s No Surrender

The opening credits alternate with spinning newspapers, interspersed with scenes of Eric Alterman, star journalist, looking intently over Google search results while sitting in his pajamas and eating Ben & Jerry�s. The first headline, from the New Washington Times Post Intelligencer, reads:

Exclusive! Alterman Discovers Long-Lost Section of Constitution Banning �Religious Nut-Jobs� from Voting

It�s Authentic, Say Experts, Rather

Bush to Invade Cuba

We then switch to Jayson Blair, editor of the New Washington Times Post Intelligencer, eating cavier and watching The Real World over an opened newspaper. He grins broadly and reaches for the fifth of Jim Beam on the coffee table.

The next headline spins into view:

Gavin Newsom Appointed Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court

Immediately Issues Ruling That All Families Must Adopt One Gay Child

Newsom: �I�m Coming For You, Rove!�

Bush Mobilizes Troops Near Canadian Border

As the last credits roll, and the song begins to fade, we see dynamic John Forbes Kerry, conferring with Markos �Daily Kos� Zuniga over videophone, while hang-gliding off of Mount Rushmore. As he drifts over the storied sculptures, the camera catches his Gallic profile, in line with the four existing stone busts�

Stay tuned for more!

JFK the Sequel - Cast and Crew

The Ancient Greeks Couldn't Stand Barbra Streisand, Either

From Apology (a dialogue in the series The Trial and Death of Socrates, by Plato):
Socrates: ...not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them. And the poets appeared to me to be much in the same case; and I further observed that upon the strength of their poetry they believed themselves to be the wisest of men in other things in which they were not wise.

Miscellanea - I Feel So Inadequate! Edition

Here's a nice snapshot of my relative standing in the blogosphere: I get on here a few times a day and make snarky comments; Arthur Chrenkoff interviews world figures and freelances for the Wall Street Journal...

The invaluable James Taranto has a new nickname for John Kerry...

I have been unpardonably late in mentioning this, and most of you have probably gotten wind of it by now, but Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, is in a heap of trouble for an outrageous allegation he made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week. Jordan asserted that U.S. troops are deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq. This has been confirmed by Democratic senators Dodd and Frank and longtime politico David Gergen, among others. It's not the first incredible comment Jordan has made; much more on this soon (hint, hint)...

Howard Dean will get the DNC Chair uncontested; another triumph for Karl Rove?...

Hold the Cynicism, Please

I know that many will view this with great skepticism. Maybe I should, too - but I've been hopeful on this front ever since Abbas took over from Arafat. Let's hope progress - real progress - is being made at last. More later, after I've had time to absorb the details and the reaction.

A Preview of My Screenplay

Over the next few weeks, I have a very special treat: I'm going to serialize a screenplay that I've been working on. It's the story of an idealistic, dynamic leader who, against great odds, reaches the pinnacle of success where he so rightly belongs. Of course, there are heroes and scoundrels, handsome leading men, lovely leading ladies, all amidst the rich backdrop of Washington, D.C. Here is a sneak peak at the cast and crew I've lined up:

Paranoia Productions Presents

An Oliver Stone Film

JFK � The Sequel


John Forbes Kerry as the President

Noam Chomsky as the Secretary of Defense

Barbra Streisand as Teresa Heinz Kerry

Eric Alterman as the Journalist

Jayson Blair as the Editor of the New Washington Times Post Intelligencer

Juan Cole as the Secretary of State

Michael Moore as the President of France

Al Sharpton as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Markos Zuniga (the Daily Kos) as the Vice President

Josh Marshall as the Secretary of Labor

Johnnie Cochran as the Attorney General

Gavin Newsom as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

George W. Bush as the Evil Fascist

And many, many more!

Be sure to tune in for Scene One, coming soon!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Miscellanea - A New Dynasty Edition

Two in a row and three of the last four for the Patriots - congrats! Now come on, Parcells, and bring my Cowboys back to the big one!...

Speaking of the Cowboys, what's up with Michael Irvin not making the Hall of Fame?...

Thanks to my niece for stopping by and taking up some of the Super Bowl slack...

I thought it was a decent, if somewhat sloppy, game. I'm a McCartney fan, so I dug the halftime (speaking of halftimes, if you're not totally bored with last year's debacle, Mickey Kaus has a response to Frank Rich's typical blue state arrogance)...

My choice for best Super Bowl commercial: FedEx...

My Niece Guest Blogs

Hey, everyone, I'm tired of my uncle giving all the guest blog space to his beagle, so I'm dropping by to say hello. I'm Audra, and I'm 18 and about to graduate!!! I'm still debating where to go to college, but I'm checking out Angelo State University this weekend. I'm conservative, like my uncle, only much better looking than him (he told me to say that). I'm a big U2 fan, and I like the Dead, the Stones, and KGSR radio in Austin, even though I live in Lubbock. Let's see, what else, I like shoes, and my uncle's blog [I didn't tell her to say that, honest! - Mark]. Alright, have a good week, everyone! Posted by Hello

Where'd Everybody Go?

Strangest thing - about 5:45 p.m. central, my traffic just died. Am I missing something? Is there some kind of event today? Please don't tell me Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are talking about Social Security, and I missed it...damn, I'm always the last to know everything...

Miscellanea - Women and the Sciences Edition

You've probably heard of the storm of controversy Harvard President Lawrence Summers stirred up when he suggested recently that perhaps there was a biological reason that women are not attracted to the sciences as much as men. Martin Peretz of the New Republic says the real problem is that Summers challenges the accepted wisdom of the academic world by subjecting ideas with evidence behind them to scrutiny. More on the controversy here (hat tip to deacon at Power Line)...

JustOneMinute has a typically thorough, well-reasoned debunking of Krugman's latest Social Security 'analysis'...

Chrenkoff responds to Juan Cole's response to Jonah Goldberg (too cryptic? Don't worry, just read it...)

Another good piece from Patrick Ruffini on Howard Dean, Social Security, the state of the Democratic Party, and more. Best line: "It can fairly be said that the Democratic Party is becoming the party of the very rich and the very poor, and the Republican Party is becoming the party of everyone in between"...

Gmail Invites

Alright, folks, if anyone is interested, Google has just given me 50 Gmail invitiations. Go to the bottom right and click View My Complete Profile to email me if that's something you or someone you know wants or needs. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!